This album has split fans for nearly 20 years. There are some out there that claim this as their favourite Megadeth release. Then there are those that see it as a blemish on the band’s record, a separator between two undoubtedly classic albums in “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?” and “Rust in Peace”. So where do I stand? I’m going to be ultra boring and sit on the fence.
While “So Far So Good…So What?” in my opinion is not as good as either of the other two aforementioned albums, it certainly has some value for any thrash fan. The problem with the album is a lack of consistency. Things start out tremendously promising with the instrumental “Into the Lungs of Hell” kicking things off in fine style. Straight away, it’s obvious that the musicianship is still of the highest quality even if the production is slightly lacking. “Set the World Afire” continues the good work, its shredding riffs making up for rather pedestrian drumming by newcomer Chuck Behler.
But here’s where the problem starts. Just as on the previous two albums, the band recorded a cover version of a celebrated track. I really do feel that in each case (“These Boots” may be an exception but only just) the cover songs are the tracks that I dislike the most on each release. This time around, Megadeth recorded a version of the Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the UK”. It’s completely out of place and in particular as track 3 on the album. Some fans claim to like this cover but most criticise its existence in general, its punk attitude not sitting well alongside some of the more sophisticated tracks.
Yet the inconsistencies don’t end there. “Mary Jane” is another brilliant track with it’s ballad like qualities and fantastic lead guitar making it one of the highlights of the album. But then it’s followed by the truly atrocious “502″ which once again stalls the flow of the album. I’m sure the guys thought it was funny writing this track based on speeding in cars and avoiding the cops, but its silliness wears thin awfully quickly and I find it very hard to enjoy these days. And so the album runs on with a few great moments broken up by bad decisions and a few cringe-worthy songs.
I don’t hate “So Far So Good…So What?” as a whole, but I do find it really difficult to enjoy about half of it. Whereas the album before it and even more so the one after it are filled to the brim with talent and quality, this one ends up being comparatively average.